Heartlands

Darrell Yates Rist, Author Dutton Books $24 (496p) ISBN 978-0-525-93500-1
For three years, activist and journalist Rist sought to observe the lives of gay people outside the commonly portrayed big-city communities. His often gripping but sometimes meandering travelogue, laced with autobiographical reflections, begins in San Francisco, where he departs the Castro district, the all-American gay hometown, in order to meet Latino and poor gays. Rist not only captures the texture of gay life in places such as Reno, Nev., and Tupelo, Miss.; he has epiphanies-observing an inept Coors flack politicize a group of lackadaisical gay cowboys (the PR man ..made insulted activists out of them-at least for the day), interviewing a gay prisoner who killed a schoolmate who attacked and outs&' him, and meeting a father whose letter to then Vice-President Bush about AIDS and his dead son is queerly, improbably eloquent. When he draws conclusions-which he claims as ..magnificent discoveries-gist lapses into portentous prose, but his trip forces him to reconsider his previous, perhaps na:fve belief in gay brotherhood: most men he met had more in common with their neighbors than with all the other homosexual men I had ever known. Author
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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